The Messenger 10.01.12
Population growth and classroom technology might seem unrelated, but in reality, both go hand in hand.
As the world population steadily climbs toward nine billion people, the anticipated benchmark of 2050, farmers and scientists are being proactive in developing technology that will allow food to be grown in a variety of environments while using fewer inputs and natural resources.
Thanks to the support of local farmers and America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, Obion County students will be able to experience this technology in the classroom with the help of a $10,000 grant that will transform a traditional greenhouse into a hydroponics greenhouse to be used by the science and agriculture curriculums.
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a public school district in their community to compete for a grant of either $10,000 or $25,000 to enhance education in the areas of math and/or science. More than 1,000 nominated school districts submitted applications. The Monsanto Fund will invest $2.3 million in rural education through this program.
Monsanto’s Ty Parker said 20 local farmers submitted nominations to support Obion County Central High School. During the nomination period, 498 Tennessee farmers showed their support for 35 school districts. In Tennessee, a total of $40,000 is being invested in rural education. Other schools receiving $10,000 grants include South Carroll County Special School District, Franklin County School District and Robertson County Schools.
“I foresee this grant making a huge impact on our school and community,” said Russ Davis, Obion County Career and Technical Education director. “It is vital for our program to stay up-to-date with technology in the agriculture field. Our students will have the opportunity to take the knowledge they learn in the classroom and apply it in a real world setting.”
After being nominated by local farmers, school districts completed an online application, and finalists were chosen by math and science teachers from ineligible school districts. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of 26 prominent farmers from across the country, then reviewed the finalists’ applications and selected the winners.
“It is significant that Monsanto is giving back to communities in a way that supports life-long learning,” said Catherine Via, Tennessee advisory council member. “Reaching our rural schools through math and science grants is an avenue for agricultural sustainability that provides the fundamental food and fiber for our nation.”
Obion County Schools received the $10,000 grant during the Career and Technical Education Open House at Obion County Central on Tuesday.
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education started with a successful pilot in Illinois and Minnesota in 2011, in which farmers were given the opportunity to nominate a public school district in 165 eligible counties in those two states. The Monsanto Fund awarded more than $266,000 to local schools in 16 CRDs. Now, the program has expanded to 1,245 eligible counties in 39 states.
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education helps farmers positively impact their communities and supports local rural school districts. This program is part of the Monsanto Fund’s overall effort to support rural education and communities. Another program that is part of this effort is America’s Farmers Grow Communities, which gives winning farmers the opportunity to direct a $2,500 donation to their favorite community nonprofit organization in their county. Farmers can participate in this program through Nov. 30 by visiting www.growcommunities.com.